This week, mother continent will turn her eyes on the continental soccer showpiece, and ladies, this includes you too.
YOUR beau, brothers, dad and guy friends will own the remote control for the duration of the Afcon and speak about little else but football.
But it’s not all bad and may be to your advantage to get involved.
Soccer is not as boring as it might seem sometimes. It just takes a little understanding and some interest.
It’s true that guys usually want to watch the game with “the boys”, but this is mainly because they think we don’t get it.
So, instead of finding something else to fill your 90 minutes with, grab a seat, a drink and surprise him by enjoying the game.
Since no one actually takes the time to explain sport to us, here is your girl guide to make sure you follow and can join in on the fun during some soccer chit-chat at the office.
First things first: You must know that Afcon is simply an African football competition that happens every two years. Sixteen of the best national teams on the continent compete and the best one wins. Nigeria are the reigning champs.
Four teams are put in the same number of groups (A-D). They play each other within the groups and this is called the group stages.
The two best teams in each group proceed to the next stage, called the knock-out phase.
The knock-out stages are the inter-group leg of the competition.
From these, comes the quarterfinals that are made up of eight teams, then the semifinals comprising four teams and, ultimately, the final, which is a game between the resulting two best teams.
While the game is on, there might be a few things you need to note and look out for like corner kicks, penalty kicks, throw-ins and headers.
A penalty kick is awarded when there is a foul within the 18th-area box (the big box close to the goal post). Also, penalties are awarded at the end of matches in the knock-out stages when the game ends in a draw, to determine a winner.
A corner kick is simple. If a defending team’s player kicks the ball out anywhere between the goals and the corner flag on their side of the pitch, play is restarted by the attacking team by kicking the ball from the corner.
A header is self-explanatory. the player uses his head to play the ball, this is allowed.
But the only body part on-the-field players cannot use to handle the ball is the hand. It becomes a foul if any player other than the goalkeeper does so.
The group stage matches are scored using a points system with a win being three points and one point for a draw.
That is all you need to know, further detail in certain scenarios is a little complicated, so we won’t go into it.
As far as the technical stuff goes, that’s it, really. The rest is pretty simple: The men dribble the ball about until they score. When the team you support scores, you celebrate.
The field will be filled with many strong African heart-throbs, who sport most beautiful thighs and abs. And this is where the added bonus for spending time watching the match with your beau will come from. Do perve openly, he will understand.
But ladies, it’s important to remember that sport is emotional for men. Yes, men experience the same kind of emotions we do when watching a romance flick or when we get emotionally attached to a book.
No matter how silly you think it is, just be considerate and comforting. Besides, it’ll be over in three weeks.